This Christmas, as with every other Christmas, I was asked to write a wish list. This gets harder every year. When you work (and don’t have kids), you tend to buy what you want, when you want it. But the one thing that I always love to open on Christmas morning, birthday mornings, or any other mornings for that matter, is a brand new cookbook – full of never-tried-before recipes, and the promise of culinary adventures to come. My cook book wish list this year was vast, but my favourite amongst them had to be Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros.
In this most beautiful of books, Tessa shares not only many a mouthwatering recipe, but for page after page, celebrates the heritage of Italy, the women she meets, and the lessons we can all learn from them. Interspersed with heartwarming and inspirational quotes, it’s also a bit of a life bible.
Some might shy away from the 1950s feel of the book, in which she offers up tips for good housekeeping (but in a delightfully feminine, rather than prescriptive sort of way) – including how to look after your linen, remove stains, and prevent weeds from growing, but I think it truly adds to its appeal. She even tells you how to get rid of hiccups!
In Limoncello and Linen Water, you’ll find hearty family dinners, quirky side dishes, deliciously unusual cakes, methods for creating flavoured salts and sugars, and a whole range of preserves (personally, I can’t wait to try the chilli and red pepper jam). But what really sets this books apart is its sheer beauty. Even if you don’t read it, even if you don’t cook from it (although I would urge you to do both), it’s exquisite to simply look at. The page marker is a luxurious pink velvet ribbon, and the photography throughout the book can only be matched by that of The Vintage Tea Party Book. The whole thing makes you feel a little bit warm inside.
Last night, I made Tessa’s ham and green olive tart. It was more like quiche. I don’t like quiche. I loved this one. The salty ham and olives, set against the creamy, Parmesan binding was an inspired taste sensation. I can’t wait to try the next recipe!
The verdict? If you buy one cookbook this year, it really has to be this one.
Love Dolly xx